The community spirit of independent businesses in Devizes has been praised as shops re-opened this week.

The strong network of the town's local retailers swapped advice and online tips during lockdown as they sold their wares online.

Being able to open again this week was a "source of real hope" and a chance for a boost in income after the Christmas shopping period was cut short by lockdown.

Christine Holloway and Linda Buckland, who work at Expressions card shop, were full of smiles to welcome back shoppers.

They highlighted the fact that for many older people, who have recently got vaccinated, the chance to return to the high street would be a real boost in terms of easing loneliness.

Christine said: "In a little town like Devizes, the sense of community is really strong and we have close relationships with our customers. There's people who really haven't had the chance to speak or see people during lockdown, so getting back to the shops will be really important for them."

Alexandra Jennings, at the Wardrobe fashion shop just off the Market Place, said trade had been steady since they re-opened. She and owner Taylor-Jane had worked all hours to get the shop ready for trade once more.

"The community spirit between the shops has been really important - people have supported each other during all this," said Alexandra.

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Over at Romain and Co hair studio, Laura Hatala and Molly Stringer had been kept very busy.

"We really missed our clients and it's just lovely to be back," said Laura.

Beth Zouadi, of Beeze's & Little B's, said: "We're really excited to open and it's great to get back and see people. It still feels a little surreal to be honest, I think we're all just hoping this really is it, and there isn't another lockdown."

Like many traders, Beth offered online orders while closed, and adapted to a very new way of working. "Lockdown fast-tracked what we were doing in terms of online, and it is something we will keep doing now," she said.

For many, the message this week was shop local, and to help the town's economy recover.

Devizes Town Council have also said: "A big thank you to the local community for their continued support of our essential traders and business that have remained open throughout this pandemic, and we ask you to continue to support our markets and our independent businesses in the high street who are just opening their doors for the first time."